FLORENCE, S.C. -- The city of Florence is set for another year of growth and development in 2018.

The momentum of redevelopment downtown will continue with the completion of the Hyatt Place hotel and the Carolina Bank building, along with a number of new restaurants and stores. Given the success of the Emerson and Kress apartments, continued residential growth is also expected as downtown living has become increasingly sought after.

Further, the city plans to renovate a deteriorated warehouse building on Sanborn Street for use as a new city farmers market, complete with vendor space, a commercial kitchen, cold and dry storage and restrooms. This market will create access to fresh and local foods and wellness education and anchor the city’s new downtown Food, Artisan and Warehouse District.

A new soccer complex represents significant improvements in city parks and recreation, and this will continue with the opening of a basketball center. Next will be the construction of two new community centers, one at Iola Jones Park and one at Maple Park, along with extensive maintenance and upgrades of equipment and facilities at existing parks, an expansion of the city’s trail system and greenspace improvements downtown.

Together this work represents more than $30 million of investment in parks and recreation in the city of Florence, funded largely through hospitality fund revenue and generous gifts from the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation. It’s an unprecedented, imperative and long overdue improvement in the quality of life for this community.

Neighborhood redevelopment will continue in 2018 with the completion and sale of new homes on Vista Street in north Florence followed by the construction of homes and the redesign and improvement of roadway infrastructure on Sumter and Pine streets in west and east Florence. This work is the realization of years of planning and preparation. The result is hard evidence of the city’s commitment to revitalizing the traditional neighborhoods surrounding downtown that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.

Elsewhere in the city, progress includes the $16 million expansion and remodeling of the Florence Civic Center – now known as the Florence Center – to include 25,000 square feet of newly built space featuring six break-out rooms for conventions and meetings, which brings the center’s total event space to 60,000 square feet. This was accomplished through a partnership between the city and Florence County. The Florence Center renovation will be paired with new road and sidewalk improvements on Woody Jones Boulevard, improving the connections between the center and the surrounding restaurants and stores and accelerating growth in an area that continues to thrive.

In sum, in 2018 the city of Florence will continue to enjoy the fruits of an historic era of growth, development and re-development due to the hard work of its citizens coupled with reasoned and pragmatic cooperation among its institutions.

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